Are Suns ready to join Trail Blazers, rest of NBA with a G League franchise?
Apr 26, 2023, 11:52 AM | Updated: 1:00 pm
(Photo by Alec Henden/Cronkite News)
The Portland Trail Blazers made it official Wednesday and became the newest team to own and operate a G League franchise.
Will the Phoenix Suns – now the only NBA team to not operate a G League team – join them soon?
G League commissioner Shareef Abdur-Rahim seems to think so, telling Adi Joseph of CBS Sports that new owner Mat Ishbia is motivated to get the Suns back into the league.
“I think there’s motivation there (with new Suns ownership) to have a G League team,” Joseph reported Abdur-Rahim as saying.
It would not be the first time the Suns operated and owned a G League team.
In 2011, the Suns entered a multi-affiliation agreement with the Bakersfield Jam before making that exclusive in 2014.
The Suns purchased the Jam in 2016, moved the team to Prescott and rebranded them as the Northern Arizona Suns.
Upon buying the Jam, the Phoenix Suns became the 15th team to join the G league as an owner. In 2020, they sold the Northern Arizona Suns to the Detroit Pistons.
Initially, the team was slated to play a final season representing Arizona, but when the G League went to a single site season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they balked at participating.
NAZ Suns will not participate in @nbagleague single site.
🔗 https://t.co/u7VmAdyA6D pic.twitter.com/QImmXQh0Im
— NAZ Suns (@nazsuns) January 8, 2021
The team began play as the Motor City Cruise in Dearborn, Mich., for the 2021-2022 season.
More than half of the players on NBA rosters have G League experience and six NBA head coaches have spent time in the G League.
The G League also serves as the league’s testbed for rules now used at the NBA level, including the coach’s challenge and the 14-second shot-clock reset rule.